Out in the wild: how Ken Layne created an alternative to clickbait in the desert

Ken Layne, writer, publisher and proprietor of Desert Oracle, a self-published periodical and radio program. Photograph: Philip Cheung/The Guardian
Ken Layne, writer, publisher and proprietor of Desert Oracle, a self-published periodical and radio program. Photograph: Philip Cheung/The Guardian

LINK: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/dec/07/ken-layne-desert-oracle-magazine-desert-gawker

Audrey Hale: Shooter’s disturbing art

Shooter’s disturbing art

Audrey Hale’s artwork included this drawing with ‘murder’ spelled backwards(AH Illustrations)
Audrey Hale’s artwork included this drawing with ‘murder’ spelled backwards
(AH Illustrations)

Disturbing artwork created by the Nashville school shooting suspect has come to light as police revealed that the killer drew a “cartoon” outlining Monday’s attack.

Hale ran an art website called AH Illustrations.

A self-portrait on Hale’s website(AH Illustrations)
A self-portrait on Hale’s website
(AH Illustrations)

Hale’s work showcased on the website ranges from the disturbing to the childlike, including a creepy drawing of Jack Nicholson in horror movie The Shining.

Chillingly, the word “MURDER” is scrawled backwards across the disturbing image, a reference to the movie.

There’s also a whole section titled “Mad World” which is filled with sprawling patterns and – perhaps more eerie given the age of Hale’s victims – there’s a whole trove of childlike images.

Audrey Hale’s artwork included this drawing with ‘murder’ spelled backwards

Another image on the website appears to show Hale’s feet with the phrase “To be a kid forever and ever” across it – as Hale is now accused of killing three small children.

The website also features a self-portrait of “Audrey the Artist” alongside a bio which describes the soon-to-be school shooter as “on a mission to change the world”.

Hale writes that “I am a freelance Illustrator and Graphic Designer who creates logos for businesses”.

The mass killer’s illustrative style is self-described as “whimsical” and with a “light-hearted feel”.

Audrey Hale’s artwork included this drawing with ‘murder’ spelled backwards

“Aside from art, I enjoy binging on video games, watching movies, and playing sports. There is a child-like part about me that loves to go run to the playground. Animals are my second passion, so I also enjoy spending time with my two cats,” Hale writes on the website, which had not been taken down as of Tuesday.

Hale, who went to art school in Nashville, is said to have used those creative skills to prepare for Monday’s mass shooting as police found a “cartoon” plan of the massacre.


World close to ‘irreversible’ climate breakdown, warn major studies

Key UN reports published in last two days warn urgent and collective action needed – as oil firms report astronomical profits

LINK: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/oct/27/world-close-to-irreversible-climate-breakdown-warn-major-studies

Project Unabom

Project Unabom

Decades after Ted Kaczynski was caught, society is still asking some of the same questions about him: Is Ted a genius who went astray? Or simply a madman who murdered three people in cold blood? Project Unabom takes an in-depth look back at the Unabomber saga and Ted Kaczynski’s legacy from the perspective of FBI agents who worked to solve the case, his brother who turned him in, and Ted’s very own writings. New episodes out every Monday. Project Unabom is an Apple Original podcast, produced by Pineapple Street Studios. Listen and follow on Apple Podcasts.

Download all episodes here.


‘We’re going to pay in a big way’: a shocking new book on the climate crisis

In An Inconvenient Apocalypse, authors Wes Jackson and Robert Jensen write that society needs to be better prepared for an inevitable collapse

 ‘We’re going to pay in a big way’: a shocking new book on the climate crisisIn An Inconvenient Apocalypse, authors Wes Jackson and Robert Jensen style themselves as heralds of some very bad news: societal collapse on a global scale is inevitable, and those who manage to survive the mass death and crumbling of the world as we know it will have to live in drastically transformed circumstances. According to Jackson and Jensen, there’s no averting this collapse – electric cars aren’t going to save us, and neither are global climate accords. The current way of things is doomed, and it’s up to us to prepare as best we can to ensure as soft a landing as possible when the inevitable apocalypse arrives.

LINK: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2022/aug/31/an-inconvenient-apocalypse-climate-crisis-book

The Black Market for Nuclear Weapons

The Black Market for Nuclear Weapons

The collapse of the USSR brought about a period within Russia of unbridled chaos, devolving into a free-for-all amongst citizens unsure where their next meal might be coming from. Everything that could have been stolen, was stolen, and included in that were up to 400 nuclear weapons. But where did all of these weapons end up, and how secure is the rest of Russia’s apocalyptic arsenal today? Will the nuclear black market be responsible for the next major terrorist attack? On the panel this week – Robin M Frost – (Uni. of Ottawa) – Eric Gomez – (CATO) – Foeke Postma – (Bellingcat) – Andrew Futter – (Uni. of Leicester) Follow the show on @TheRedLinePod Follow Michael on @MikeHilliardAus For more information please visit – www.theredlinepodcast.com

Listen to this episode on: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Libsyn RSS

Episode Overview:

Part 1: A Suitcase Full of Terror (3:56)

  • Robin M Frost begins our conversation with a look at the chaos of the collapse of the Soviet Union, which included nuclear sites in former Soviet states that were widely secret from the public until the end of the Cold War.

  • We discuss the realistic concerns about the security of these former sites, which independent investigations have proven to be extremely lax in security and operational protocols, and how much of a risk they pose for the nuclear black market.

  • What has stopped non-state actors who would want to use a nuclear weapon in an attack? Frost identifies a number of factors, including the difficulty of obtaining and fashioning enriched uranium into a suitable configuration for a weapon, the difficulty of constructing the triggers necessary to detonate, and the sophisticated knowledge required to build such a weapon.

  • The threat of “salting” a regular explosive device with spent radioactive materials, a radiological weapon, is a much more realistic threat according to Frost and could be created using much more readily available materials kept under significantly less security across the globe.

  • Interestingly, the IAEA notes that organised crime in the former Soviet Union has avoided dealing in nuclear materials, with Frost speculating both fear of handling the materials, the attention that would be brought upon their

Part 2: Recorking the Champagne (27:12)

  • Eric Gomez asserts that nuclear safety protocols are stronger than the public consensus seems to believe, backed up through the lack of accidental denotation of nuclear weapons.

  • Gomez notes the abundance of “tactical nukes” in the former Soviet Union, often forward-deployed with military units, which are small in payload but highly portable and typically featuring less safety protocols (i.e. codes for activation), poses the greatest threat to international safety today. However, many of the components in those weapons have degraded, leading to a questionable potency for those weapons in the current age.

  • We unpack how the United States security guarantee has served as a deterrent for other countries to develop their own nuclear weapons, but also note the scale of infrastructure (allowing for easy detection) and difficulty to build nuclear weapons is a major factor in preventing the spread of nuclear nations.

Part 3: A Fortified Castle… with a Broken Screen Door (46:02)

  • Foeke Postma posits that security of facilities and weapons are as strong as the people that guard it, noting the abundance of data in the modern world create highly traceable individuals and reveal the location of sites, transit routes, and other highly sensitive information that can be obtained on the black market.

  • Postma talks about how social media accounts and fitness devices are regularly used by Open Source Intelligence operatives and journalists to uncover such sensitive information, walking us through his work uncovering how US military personnel inadvertently revealed a multitude of sensitive security protocols about US nuclear weapons and the bases at which they are stored.

  • Postma notes that governments and potentially non-state actors are no doubt utilising these OS opportunities to map military and intelligence networks, including current members of Russia’s GRU military intelligence service.

Part 4: Dumb Luck (1:08:27)

  • Andrew Futter notes that while there’s been a combination of luck and success with the security of nuclear weapons facilities, it’s not easy to assess what has been effective so far and what will need to change to continue success in the evolving security environment.

  • Futter notes the success of the AQ Khan proliferation network allowed for the flow of information about how to achieve a nuclear weapon program to several states with nuclear ambitions, but also demonstrates the scale of work that would be required to successfully launch such a program.

  • The fear of culpability is likely a major deterrent against states aiding non-state actors in the creation or use of a nuclear weapon, but Futter unpacks the possibility of a state being framed in a false flag attack, through the use of material or markers linked to that state in order to exacerbate tensions or trigger conflict.

  • We unpack nuclear deterrence theory and how in practice that would work in the modern day, noting that a significant amount of weaponisation would be required to be effective, as well as a certain level of overt testing and demonstration. We also talk about delivery methods and why missiles remain both preferred from a command and control perspective.

The Red Line’s Broken Arrows Reading List:

We’ve compiled a list of further reading to better understand the geopolitics of the nuclear black market.


The Politics of Nuclear Weapons

Andrew Futter


America’s Nuclear Crossroads: A Forward-Looking Anthology

Eric Gomez

Preventing Black Market Trade of Nuclear Technology

Matthew Bunn